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Poster: billbarstad Date: Jan 15, 2011 11:04am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Found on Community

Well, if it wasn't renewed then UK law applies. Per Video-Cellar:

If the copyright for the film expired before December 31, 1995, it's ineligible for GATT/URAA. if As You Like It (1936) didn't have its copyright extended beyond the normal 50 year term before January 1, 1996, it's ineligible for GATT/URAA. If it wasn't in copyright on January 1, 1996, but had its copyright extended afterward, it's still ineligible for GATT/URAA.

So, was its copyright extended, and if it was, when? If it wasn't, then it's PD here no matter what.

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Poster: Moongleam Date: Jan 15, 2011 1:33pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Found on Community

According to Staraker, the 50-year term began not when the film was released but at the first death of an author or director.

Let's recall the debate between Video-Cellar and Staraker.



"It is still debatable as to whether the transitional savings regarding pre-57 films are as clear cut as you say. The debate seems to be that the later transitional savings refer to unpublished and unregistered films."

"copyright terms on pre-1957 UK films can be controversial as lawyers debate the wording, meaning and application of the various transitional savings (grandfather clauses), whereas the terms for July 1957 to August 1989 films (50 years flat) and films from August 1989-present (70 years after the date of death of the last surviving principle author) are incontrovertible."

"British copyright is complicated. There are rationales for pre 1957 registered films being out of copyright. There are rationales for pre 1957 films being in copyright. There are rationales for these films' lasped US copyrights not being restored by GATT/URAA legislation. I have tried to cover all of these rationales many times on this forum. To allow people to make their own judgements about the appliction of UK and US law to British films that lost their copyright in the US prior to URAA."

"It simply comes down to ambiguity. There is no clear, definitive rationale for determining the copyright status of these film works."


In other words, if a film was a dramatic work under the 1911 Act, it remained a dramatic work under the terms of the 1956 Act (yes, my error - still 50 year after first author's death), and subsequently under the terms of the 1988 Act, as amended in 1995 (70 years after last author's death).

* * *

There is also a convincing argument for a number of pre-1 June 1957 films, where the original copyright had expired before 1 August 1989, given that 1988 Schedule 1 Section 5 ["Subsistence of copyright"] (1) states: "Copyright subsists in an existing work after commencement only if copyright subsisted in it immediately before commencement." In other words, if the copyright had already lapsed under 1956 Act terms, it did not come back into copyright, even if it would have been covered by 1988 Act terms. Effectively this would mean any film where either the writer and [sic; "or"] director had died before 1 January 1939, using the "first death + 50 years" rule, unless the first author died before publication, in which case (if I'm reading the 1956 Act correctly) it would be the date of publication + 50 years.


Per Staraker, if a director or author of the film died before 1939-01-01, the movie is public domain.

If Shakespeare can be counted as one of the authors of the film "As You Like It", then the movie is p.d.

This post was modified by Moongleam on 2011-01-15 21:33:53

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Poster: billbarstad Date: Jan 15, 2011 2:26pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Found on Community

IMDb gives William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616) a writing credit on the film. J. M. Barrie died in 1937. I couldn't find any biographical information on Robert Cullen. Carl Mayer died in 1944.

I think it's safe to say the movie is PD, unless it had its copyright extended. Of course, it's always debatable...

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Poster: Staraker Date: Feb 6, 2011 6:58am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Found on Community

Yes, it does seem that because one "author" was already dead when the film was released, this would have been a case of the copyright running 50 years from release until 31 December 1986. Since it had therefore lapsed before the 1988 Act became law, the copyright would not have been revived, so it should be PD in the UK.

This post was modified by Staraker on 2011-02-06 14:58:31